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  • Writer's pictureChaz Vossburg

Choosing the Perfect Co-Managed IT Provider: A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Your IT Operations

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Understanding the Evolution of IT Support Models

The IT support landscape has greatly evolved over the years. Earlier, companies mostly relied on either their in-house IT team or leaned towards outsourced IT firms offering Break/Fix or Managed IT Services. But as the business ecosystem continues to evolve, a hybrid model has emerged. This model combines the strengths of both in-house and outsourced IT resources.

Many organizations realize they might not have the funds or the constant requirement for a full-time senior network engineer. Yet, the expertise of such professionals becomes crucial during certain scenarios. Conversely, there are companies equipped with high-caliber IT professionals but still need additional external support to alleviate the stress on their in-house teams and reduce overhead expenses.

In our previous article, we delved into the indicators that signify your organization's readiness for a Co-Managed IT model. Continuing that discussion, this blog will guide you on how to choose the perfect Co-Managed IT partner for your needs.

In this guide, you'll discover:

  1. 10 Essential Questions to Evaluate a Potential Co-Managed IT Provider

  2. Your Handy Co-Managed IT Worksheet

  3. Additional Factors to Consider in Your Decision

Evaluating Your Co-Managed IT Partnership: The Top 10 Questions to Ask

Selecting the right Co-Managed IT provider is akin to adding an extended arm to your organization. The quality of this partnership can significantly impact your company's IT operations. To ensure you're making the best choice, it's crucial to be prepared with questions that will truly gauge the capability and compatibility of a potential Managed Service Provider (MSP) for Co-Managed services.

Below are 10 essential questions to guide your evaluation:

  1. Unique Selling Point: Why should we choose you as our Co-Managed IT partner?

  2. Transparency and Honesty: Can you highlight reasons we might not want to partner with you?

  3. Adaptability: How do you stay updated in this fast-evolving IT landscape?

  4. Insightful Reporting: What kind of reporting can you offer to ensure transparency in our partnership?

  5. Experience: How many clients with internal IT support are you currently aiding?

  6. Role Definition: In a Co-Managed IT model, what roles do you typically assume as the external IT support?

  7. Trustworthiness: Would you be open to providing us with 5 customer references for further insights?

  8. Customer Interface: Do you offer a customer portal? If so, what functionalities does it encompass?

  9. Ideal Collaboration: Describe an ideal working relationship with an in-house IT team from your perspective.

  10. Challenges: In your experience, what factors might hinder a successful client relationship?

The Crucial Co-Managed IT Responsibility Worksheet

Venturing into Co-Managed IT services is a strategic decision, but how do you ensure a seamless blending of internal and external IT support? The answer lies in clear role definition.

While many Managed Service Providers claim proficiency in Co-Managed IT, only a handful truly have the hands-on experience to back this claim. Some providers might be enthusiastic to take on clients but then resort to learning on the job, which isn’t optimal for your business.

This is where our Co-Managed IT Responsibility Worksheet becomes indispensable.

Purpose of the Worksheet:

  1. Clear Role Definition: To precisely determine which team is responsible for specific roles.

  2. Shared vs. Exclusive Responsibilities: Some roles, like network infrastructure, could be shared between in-house and external teams. In contrast, certain strategic roles, such as that of the CIO (Chief Information Officer), need clear ownership. This worksheet helps determine who should ideally occupy such pivotal roles.

  3. Role Recommendations: Use this tool to understand if the Managed Service Provider can provide sound suggestions based on the role distribution you outline.

Co-Managed IT Worksheet with areas of responsibility and roles checkboxes.

Before diving into a partnership, taking the time to review and fill out this worksheet is essential. It not only provides clarity on who does what but also ensures there's no room for ambiguities, thus preventing potential future disputes.

Delving Deeper: Additional Factors to Ponder When Choosing a Co-Managed Provider

In your quest for the right Co-Managed IT partner, there are more layers to peel back than just the basic considerations. Beyond the scope of responsibilities and expertise, there are subtler aspects that could significantly influence your partnership. Here's a closer look:

Location Matters, But Not Always

  • The Proximity Factor: For businesses solely leaning on an MSP, proximity is a major factor. In emergencies demanding onsite support, a nearby MSP can be a game-changer.

  • Flexibility in Co-Managed IT: When you're backed by an internal IT team, the necessity for a nearby MSP diminishes. A Co-Managed approach grants you the luxury to scout for talent and expertise beyond your immediate locale, potentially even at a state or national level. This broader selection scope could fetch you a partner who's a better fit in terms of skills, tools, and cost.

Tech Tools & Resources

  • Cost vs. Benefit: Outsourced IT teams often possess tools that might be financially unviable for a smaller in-house team. Yet, these tools can be game-changers in streamlining IT operations.

  • Access in a Co-Managed Setup: In a Co-Managed environment, MSPs usually grant access to a variety of these advanced tools to your internal team. It's imperative to inquire about the range of tools, software, and programs available as part of the Co-Managed agreement. This access, often overlooked, can significantly enhance productivity and offer value beyond the monetary agreement.

Wrapping Up: The Significance of a Right Co-Managed IT Partner

Making the right choice in a Co-Managed IT provider isn't just about IT support; it's about aligning with a partner that can elevate your business to newer heights. The correct collaboration can usher in efficiency, innovation, and resilience, presenting tangible business improvements.

At Wellforce, our expertise in Co-Managed IT has been honed through years of dedicated service and adaptation to evolving business needs. We understand the intricacies of such partnerships and are primed to offer guidance, support, and services tailored to your unique requirements.

Take the Next Step with Wellforce

Don't leave your IT operations to chance. Reach out to us today, and let's explore how we can collaboratively optimize and innovate your IT landscape.

Contact Us Today! and ensure your business thrives with the right IT partnership.


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